From garage to warehouse: bigger space holds donated items for newcomers

Warehouse space donated to the Facebook group NS Welcomes Syrian Refugees

Cherryl Oake has been helping Syrian refugees for nearly two years.   Nermeen Ramadan

Cherryl Oake finally has a place to store all of the donated furniture she’s acquired for Syrian refugees and other newcomers to Halifax.

Oake, administrator of the Facebook group NS Welcomes Syrian Refugees, received a donation of a large warehouse, located in Strawberry Hill, a month ago. It’s a big relief for Oake, who has had to refuse furniture because there’s no room to store it. 

“The hardest part about all of this is finding a place that will hold all the donated furniture,“ she said. “Some people would call and say ‘my father-in-law died and we have a house full of furniture,’ but because I have no place to put the furniture, I would say no to the people.”

Previously, Oake relied on volunteers to store couches, tables, chairs and other household items in their garages.  

It all started in March 2016, during Easter weekend, when Oake learned a Syrian family didn’t have any furniture for their home. Oake put out a call on Facebook, asking for donations.

There are tables and other items in the warehouse on Strawberry Hill.   Nermeen Ramadan

Oake has helped about 60 families so far, including Louranes Alrifai and his family. They came to Halifax in the summer of 2016, when Canada opened its doors to thousands of refugees from Syria.

“We needed help with furniture, so another Syrian family told us about Cherryl and she was able to help us,” Alrifai said in Arabic.

Manorhouse Furniture provided a lot of the used furniture to Oake. 

“When my delivery guys go to deliver furniture to people, we take the furniture they don’t want and save it in our warehouse for the people that need it,” said Judy Wombolt, Manorhouse’s president.

“Syrian families are so nice; I am really grateful I could help. It makes me really happy.”

Oake says people can donate furniture through the group’s Facebook page.   Nermeen Ramadan

The transfer of furniture to the new warehouse began last month. Oake said she doesn’t know how long the space will be available to them, but expects she’ll have it for the next few months.

Oake is still accepting furniture and anyone who wants to donate an item can contact her through the Facebook page.

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